Verizon names tech chief as CEO, putting network over content

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Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam plans to retire from the company at the end of this year, and his successor will be Hans Vestberg, whose titles now include CTO, executive vice president, and president of global networks.

Verizon's next CEO will be Hans Vestberg, former CEO of key supplier Ericsson, who joined Verizon as chief technology officer just over a year ago.

At Verizon he headed a team building out Verizon's fiber network infrastructure, and he will lead Verizon in a strategy that differs markedly from wireless rival AT& which is battling with the US Justice Department to acquire media company Time Warner in an $85 billion deal.

"I am humbled to be appointed CEO of Verizon at such an exciting and dynamic time for our company and industry", Vestberg said.

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He's to become CEO at Verizon, effective August 1.

McAdam, who has been with the company for 35 years, seven of them as CEO, said that Vestberg will shepherd the company's 5G aspirations going forward. McAdam will continue to serve as chairman of Verizon's board of directors beyond his retirement at the end of the year.

Vestberg inherits a company that is losing its most valuable monthly subscribers and facing the threat of intensifying competition, as smaller, scrappier rivals Sprint and T-Mobile try once again to merge. He was also a founding member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Broadband Commission for Digital Development, where he led climate-change and digital-health initiatives. It has returned over United States dollars 54 billion to shareholders in cash dividends.

Verizon has vowed to be the first to 5G, but has only talked about its plans to roll it out as a broadband replacement service.

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His appointment comes as Verizon and other wireless carriers are racing to develop a 5G network that would deliver faster speeds.

Under McAdam, Verizon completed the $130 billion buyout of Vodafone's wireless business in 2014, and acquired Yahoo and AOL to diversify into digital media.

McAdam informed Verizon employees of this succession plan earlier today in a video message that can be viewed here.

Vestberg's duties at the company have included expanding out and developing its fiber network.

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